With patience and the right tools, you can learn how to replace a cracked or chipped ceramic floor tile. The idea of tile flooring need not be abandoned if one or a few of the tiles should happen to break. If you're considering installing a ceramic tile floor, it's always a good idea to get extra tiles. If there's a problem with breakage, the tile can be matched correctly. It's also easier to match the tile if a broken piece can be taken to the home improvement center or hardware store.
Safety glasses and work gloves are very important. Shards of ceramic tile and grout can be sharp enough to cut skin or cause eye damage. Pets and children should also be kept away from the work area, tools and materials.
Step 1 – Remove the Broken Tile
Using the awl and hammer, gently chip away the grout surrounding the piece of tile, being careful not to chip the surrounding tiles. Use the chisel and the hammer to pry the tile up from the floor until the entire piece has been removed.
Step 2 – Prepare the Exposed Flooring
Use the hammer and chisel to chip away as much of the adhesive from the sub floor as possible. The new tile piece will stay in place much better if the sub floor is smooth before installation.
Step 3 – Install the New Piece of Tile
Apply the tile adhesive to the back of the tile using the notched trowel or a putty knife. This is referred to as "buttering" the tile. Place the new piece of tile onto the prepared floor, using even pressure to be sure that the new piece is level with the existing floor. Follow the directions on the adhesive itself to know how long to wait before applying the grout.
Step 4 – Apply the Grout
Using the putty knife, apply the grout around the new tile piece. Refer to the directions to know how long to wait before removing the excess grout, usually about fifteen minutes.
Step 5 – Remove the Excess Grout
Use a damp sponge or rag to gently wipe off the excess grout. The sponge or rag should not be too wet, otherwise the water will displace the grout. Moving in a diagonal direction across the tile is the easiest way to remove excess grout from the surface, without dislodging too much.
Final Step – Apply Grout Sealer
If desired, grout sealer can be applied over the new grout to protect it from stains and mildew. Refer to the directions on the sealer to know how long to allow the grout to dry before application.
As simply as that, the floor is repaired and looking its best. This isn't a speedy process, but one that is worth taking the time and patience to complete as thoroughly as possible.